A Feeling For Things: Conversations On and Around the Work of Jane Bennett

 

The work of the political theorist Jane Bennett over the last two decades has consistently drawn attention to and has possessed a feeling for things, for the inorganic, and for the agency or quasi-agency of nonhuman actants. Her project of developing a new political ecology and renewed vitalist thought, beginning with Thoreau’s Nature: Ethics, Politics and the Wild (1994) and further developed in The Enchantment of Modernity: Attachments, Crossings, and Ethics (2001), has found its fullest expression in her latest work, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (2010), a book which has thoroughly reshaped the ways in which we think about landscape, ecology, matter, vitality and the terrain of post-continental philosophy in a time of critical climate change.

This collection, which originated in a 1-day workshop on Bennett’s vibrant materialist thought held at the Institute for Social Research, Birkbeck College, University of London in September 2013, makes the writing of Jane Bennett a vibrant matter for discussion across the fields of philosophy, psychosocial studies, political theory, cultural studies, literary theory, visual theory, and performance studies among others. More particularly, the focus among the various contributors is on how Bennett’s explorations of vitalism, non-anthropocentrism, nonhuman agential capacities, biopolitics, and new materialisms might contribute to the emerging and fraught conversations and debates between feminist studies, queer theory, Object Oriented Ontology, and Speculative Realism.

Contributors include: Jane Bennett, Lisa Baraitser, Nigel Clark, Rosemary Deller, Eileen A. Joy, João Florêncio, Michael O’Rourke, Karin Sellberg, Milla Tiainen, Eszter Timar, and Kathryn Yusoff.

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